Even in a time of political correctness in which busy-bodies are continuously nudging people to act in certain ways the nannies deem moral, there are few role models for young people to learn from when it comes to integrity. It appears that even the do-gooders have their niches, with environmentalists who demand certain behaviors and actions out of loving concern for the earth, but then care very little for humans inhabiting the earth, or union leaders who righteously preach justice unless it applies to those with a lot of wealth, then justice is not so important, or the civil rights leaders fighting courageously against racism yet make slurs against others because of the color of their skin.
The biggest disappointment regarding Barack Obama's historic election as the first black president is that he's missing an opportunity to teach impressionable young people of all colors about the value of integrity. Obama has sold his principles for power, if he ever had any, as he says whatever is necessary to play the political game like a common politician. Some will say -- "Well, what's wrong with Obama being a politician and playing the game -- why are you placing a higher standard of behavior in office on him just because he's black?" I'm not saying he has to behave differently than a white presdient, just that an opportunity has been lost, and it's disppointing.
The problem with a dearth of role models is widespread, and even in sports it's difficult to find a star with integrity -- maybe Albert Pujols and a few others, but most are arrogant and self-absorbed, just like popular entertainers who preach for causes then live like deviants and rascals. In the business world it's hard to find great men and women with integrity who will fight against special privileges of money and demand fair competition even if it hurts their position in the market -- oh, they will promote free markets, but then the backroom deals with politicians take precedence in their real business plans.
The wealthy and advantaged in society have no duty to be role models -- this is not what I'm saying. There is nothing more phony than someone trying to be a role model because they think their station in life demands it. Being a role model comes about without hype and posturing or false sense of duty -- it's a matter of honest men and women living a life of integrity and then others knowing -- it's not something one promotes in a marketing or re-election campaign.
I suppose the causes are mainly cultural, which begs the question -- what type of culture has America been developing? One that rewards manipulation, arrogance and double-dealing if you get you what you want? I'm sure there are many causes, with moral relativity being one, but it does appear that those in positions of influence are setting bad examples, but in ways of which the influential actors appear to be largely unaware anything's wrong. It's become acceptable to lie and cheat if you can point to a greater good the lying and cheating help to accomplish. It's mostly all rationalization for the lack of courage or will to maintain integrity, just like the political idea that principles are obstacles to compromise and progress. Yes, sometimes combining different ideas is necessary to find a solution, but in politics the compromises are commonly made out of ad hoc expediency because no one has any principles left to fight for. Principles are too much like a philosophy for the modern thinker, and we all know that a structured set of ideas/principles used to guide your actions is closeminded -- what about the nuances? How can we be sure what's right? No, it's best to not get too uptight about behavior as long as your intentions are good, or you can least make your intentions appear to be good.
The average person is not much better as witnessed by the current public dissatisfaction with government spending and over-reach, yet the majority of people polled say they don't want entitlements touched or reduced. As long as people can rationalize their behavior, they appear to be fine with contradictions and duplicity. Maybe this is all part of the decline that other nations have experienced -- the majority of people have it relatively good compared to others who are starving in the desert, or under the rule of a ruthless dictator who commands their behavior, so they become lazy physically, mentally and spiritually -- they take freedom and comfort for granted. I do believe we're becoming a lazy nation, and I believe it's going to put us all in serious bind down the road. It would be much better to choose integrity now, rather than have us forced to consider its value in a crisis.